Weight Watchers has reported losing more than a quarter of its market value, and these numbers are a result of a fourth consistent quarter in which the international company has suffered a steady decline in sales. This shift could potentially be the evidence that services such as the more personal forms of weight and dieting consultation are being replaced by their smartphone equivalents, as noted by Bloomberg Businessweek.
Weight Watchers International Incorporated is a United States company that provides various forms of weight management services. The company was founded in 1963, and is currently headquartered in New York, New York. The company operates on scientific principles that instruct, motivate, and inspire clients to pursue a healthier lifestyle by adopting beneficial habits, such as eating responsibly and getting regular exercise. Both in-person and online equivalents of the program are offered to clients, and incorporate the same philosophies that allow for the management of daily practices, such as calorie-counting and cross-compatibility with a wide range of other dietary plans. Instead of other methods that would typically instruct individuals to refrain from eating certain foods altogether, Weight Watchers places no food off-limits, and instead advises on limit the quantity of foods that are consumed while also instructing on a range of ideal options.
According to Jim Chambers, President and Chief Executive of the company, Weight Watchers is facing a steady decline in 2014 as competition from both free and mobile applications continues to grow. In an article with the Wall Street Journal, Chambers reports that “headwinds from both have only continued to intensify,” and that “their marketing performance for the early part of 2014 have yet to meet their expectations.” When the company was originally founded, it introduced a revolutionary new way in which people approached the concepts of successful weight management. With focuses on long-term strategy instead of immediate short-term results, the road to better health became more of a journey rather than a simple scheme. Participants were able to connect and identify with others who were also on the same path of wellness, and this connection, as well as a point-system for calorie counting, are the main staples of the company’s operating philosophies.
Technology has steadily been replacing face-to-face social interactions, and Weight Watchers is now facing this decline firsthand in 2014. As the company struggles to hold onto the paid subscriptions of its members, Weight Watchers has projected that earnings are expected to fall by more than 50 percent. With much of the population constantly absorbed and interacting with the world through texts, tweets, and Instagram photos, free weight loss applications garner a greater appeal than paid monthly subscriptions and an obligation to weekly meetings. However, the company has not been oblivious to the fact that its tried and true approach may be growing outdated. In the face of diminishing returns, Weight Watchers has plans to do an effective overhaul on marketing strategies going forwarding. With plans to incorporate new forms of innovation, Chambers seeks to focus on bringing the company’s weight loss model into the present age, and that “things are right on track for 2015.”
By Darrell Purcell
Wall Street Journal